Worcestershire 189 for 5 (Samaraweera 51, Tomlinson 3-51) trail Hampshire 428 by 239 runs
Hampshire made the most of the 90 minutes of play possible on the third day of their rain-interrupted Division Two meeting with Worcestershire at New Road.
James Tomlinson took two wickets, while Matt Coles took the other to fall as the home side reached 189 for 5 in their struggle to avoid the follow-on. They will go into the final day with a lot resting on Ross Whiteley if the lower order are to score a further 90 runs to make Hampshire - who made 428 in their first innings - bat again.
Steady drizzle prevented any play before lunch and when the players did come out, Tomlinson ended a partnership of 84 by Moeen Ali and Thilan Samaraweera. In an eventful opening over Moeen edged a boundary and then survived an lbw appeal in the first two balls but there was no reprieve when the fifth delivery hit the pads.
The England Lions left hander was never at his best in making 32 and with a maximum of three innings left, he needs 169 runs to become the first Worcestershire player to reach 1,500 in a championship season since Tom Moody in 1995.
Samaraweera went beyond 50, but with nine boundaries to his name, the Sri Lankan went for 51 when caught at mid-on after a miscued attempt to pull Tomlinson. Worcestershire overcame this setback as young prospect Tom Fell and former Derbyshire all-rounder Whiteley scored at better than five runs an over.
The left handed Whitley was quick to profit from a wayward start by Coles, clipping Hampshire's on-loan seamer over long leg for six and then taking four boundaries in his next over. However, Coles was back in business when diving forward in his follow-through to hold a low chance from Fell (32) after a stand of 58.
The arrival of more bad weather then became the main focus. Umpires Nigel Cowley and Mike Burns made the first move by taking the players off for bad light and then a forecast belt of rain then arrived before the game could re-start after tea.